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February 13, 2018 | Mace Thornton

A Fan’s Farewell

Former Feed & Grain general manager hands over the reins

Having written about agricultural policy for more than 30 years — from Kansas to Washington, D.C. — my focus has always been production agriculture. But starting with visits to the local feed mill as a youngster, and weekend jobs scooping corn at the local grain elevator, I have always been aware of the role commercial feed and grain enterprises play in the success of America’s farmers and ranchers.

Four years ago, I had no idea how much that appreciation would grow.When the American Farm Bureau Federation purchased Feed & Grain, I was asked to serve as general manager. It was not that publisher Arlette Sambs or her talented crew needed someone looking over their shoulders. It was more about working beside them to make the transition from a world strictly devoted to B2B media to one that was larger in scope and vision — more organizational, more encompassing. These past few years have been a labor of love. Thanks to Arlette and editors Elise Schafer and Steven Kilger, I have learned much about the feed and grain industry, the people working in it, and the folks who supply the equipment and services to keep them running and safe. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.

I also learned that the folks who keep Feed & Grain at the forefront of the industry are a family. And, I saw a deep level of endearing kinship in the industry itself. Sure, many of you are competitors, but you are also collaborators. My goal was to be hands-on, but also respectfully unobtrusive to your world. So, I worked at trade shows, wrote about topics like FSMA and talked with the people who make this industry vibrant and innovative.

I have watched Feed & Grain successfully make the transition and excel. Agriculture is in a constant state of transition. Feed & Grain, while continuing to focus on the bedrock platform of the printed magazine, has invested in digital and social media platforms to better serve you. And, knowing that people today expect not just information, but also experiences, I am proud they’ve established the in-person, on-location event, Feed & Grain LIVE.

But now it’s time for me to go back to my full-time gig as director of communication at the American Farm Bureau Federation. It has been my honor to meet many of you — at IPPE, at GEAPS and on the pages of the magazine itself.

I step aside for a new colleague, Melissa Sanders Carroll. She brings a wealth of experience in communications, marketing and business development. Her insights will certainly be an upgrade and will benefit Feed & Grain, and its readers and advertisers. I will miss working with you, but I pledge to continue my effort to pursue a proactive interest in what you do. I’m less certain you will miss me, and that was by design, but please know that the commercial feed and grain industry has a fan on the outside. I will be rooting for you.

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